Hotel thieves hung out to dry by new towel tech

20 April 2011

towelrailIf you'd happened to have idly asked us, we'd have suggested that the art of towel-stealing from hotels died out sometime in the 1990s. Since many hotels record a guest's credit card details in case of damages or indulging in on-demand pornography, walking out with the towels seems an overly expensive way to buy one.

Apparently not. According to the New York Times, hotels in the USA still suffer loses of up to a fifth of their towels every month. So a company has patented a washable Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that can be sewn into towels, bathrobes and anything else light-fingered guests might care to pilfer.

The system has already been trialed in hotels in three US cities; one has reported making savings of over £9,000 since they started using the chips last summer and their monthly theft of pool towels has now dropped from 4,000 a month to just 750.

There's a dual benefit to hoteliers; The chips let management monitor their linen supplies, so they always know how old their stock is and when they need to order more. So less thefts, more effective inventory management - that'll mean hotel room rates will come tumbling down, right?  Of course they won't, but if the technology spreads across the industry, there'll be less inclination for bathrobes to disappear into your luggage, but then there'll also no excuse for threadbare bedsheets either.


  • Russ
    Who'd want to nick a hotel towel anyway - you don't know where it's been. Only souvenir I got from a hotel is some rum from the free mini bar in the Dominican Republic. And only because there was nowhere that sold it.
  • Zleet
    Why would you want to keep something that has probably been rubbed on a thousand other dudes junk?
  • tom
    Cut the chips out?

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